Video 8: The Definition of Insanity (Strong Body – Strong Mind)

Today is September 28, 2015. This means that the 4th quarter (of 2015) is about to begin…

Time to finish strong!

4th quarter! Time to finish strong!

The 4th quarter of the year has many similarities to the “4th quarter” of the sports world. Any sports fan can tell you that games are usually won and lost base on the performance during the 4th quarter. Even more, the 4th quarter has a way of creating leaders and “champions” because the pressure to perform is so intense that only the strong rise-up for the challenge!

In other words, it not so much about how you start, as it is about how you finish that has the biggest outcome on the game. The same is true for life, how you finish the year up has a huge impact on your overall health/fitness and even general success.

So I am challenging you to rise-up like the champion you are and make this 4th quarter your best quarter let! Even better, lets get a 3-month head start on our 2016 New Year resolutions!

Video in review:

  • Break the cycle of insanity
  • Take time back for yourself
  • Finish the 4th quarter of the year strong
  • Early morning weekend workouts are life changing!

Video 7: Would you be impressed? (Strong Body – Strong Mind)

If you met yourself, would you be impressed?

I really want you to think about this question, how would you fare against the standards you set for other people? Are you all talk and no action or are you all about that action? Are you striving for continual self-improvement or are you satisfied being in your comfort zone?

Would you consider yourself reliable, could you count on yourself when the going got tough, or would you discover that when the pressure is on, you crack, acting no better than all those “flaky” people you can’t stand?

How would you stack-up against your own standards?

Yes, this is a very in-depth question and finding the answer will be no easy task, hell, there is a very good chance that just the thought of trying to answer this question scares you to death! If it does (scare you) you are definitely not alone, but if you take this question seriously I guarantee you will not only learn a lot about yourself, the knowledge you gain will significantly improve your life!

Check out my original blog on this topic here.

Video 6: Good Intentions/Bad Results (Strong Body – Strong Mind)

In a previous video, I explained the importance of reading food labels. But unfortunately just reading the label (or packaging) is not enough…

Right now we live in a world where the conditions are perfect for a “bad food” storm: These conditions are:

  1. Corporate Greed
  2. Under-informed consumers
  3. Misleading information on food packaging


I believe that most people want to make healthy food choices. I also believe that most people (myself included) have been “tricked” or swayed by catchy marketing. Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Cage Free, All Natural, the list goes on and on… What do these terms mean?

These marketing terms can be hard to decipher. However we do have one piece of information to help us determine the quality of the food and that is its sugar content. In general,

the lower the sugar the healthier the food.

Previous videos:

Video 5: Don’t Drink Your Calories (The Strong Body — Strong Mind Video Series)

If you were only going to remember one piece of information when it comes to nutrition it should be that…

You can’t outwork a bad diet.

So while there’s still is a lot more to learn/understand/remember about nutrition, I can give you 3 simple tips (3-small dietary changes) that can significantly improve your overall health. These changes are easy to make and won’t cost you any time or any money! These simple changes are:

  1. No Soda
  2. Black Coffee (exception Bulletproof coffee)
  3. Drink Water


Previous videos:

Video 4: Nutrition (The Strong Body — Strong Mind Video Series)

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?

Well in the fitness world this means that 80% of your body composition is determined by what you eat, the other 20% is determined in the gym. This means what you eat is extremely important.

So here is the next video in the Strong body, Strong mind series.

Previous videos:

How I used “Ninja Training” to join Hugh Jackman in the 1000-lb Club!

This post was originally posted on Wellness Force.


Please excuse me while I toot my own horn!

I be tootin, you be hatin

That’s right!

On, July 20, 2015, I joined Hugh Jackman, AKA the “Wolverine” and many other really strong individuals in a very elite club, known by many as the “Grown Man Strength Club”!

So what exactly is this “grown man strength club”? Well the real name of this elusive club is; the 1000-pound club, and in order to gain entry into this club, you have to bench press, back squat, and deadlift a combined total of 1000-lbs, all within a 3-hr window!

On July 20, 2015 - I finally became a MAN! ;)

On July 20, 2015 – I finally became a MAN! 😉

So at 0600 on July 20, 2015 I kicked down the door of the “club”, went it swinging, and the results are listed below:

  • Bench press: 300-lbs
  • Squat: 315-lbs
  • Deadlift: 385-lbs

Add those numbers up and you will find that the total is exactly 1000 pounds!

Check out the video below to see the completed lifts:

So how did I do it? Well to answer that I have to take you way back in time, all the way back to 1989. I, like just every other red blooded american boy was obsessed with “karate movies”. In fact many a school yard debate was had on the very topic of who would win in a fight, VanDamn or Steven Seagal. While the debates never seem to have a clear winner, every now and again someone would chime in and finish the debate by saying, “they both aren’t shit compared to a NINJA”! Oh, snap! That’s right, to an 8-year old boy, ninjas were like unicorns, leprechauns, UFO’s, and/or Bigfoot, everyone claimed to have seen one, but no one could ever prove that they were real!

This is my holy trinity

This is my holy trinity.

But real or not, that did not stop us from talking about “proven” ninja training methods. One method I vividly remember was the “high jump” method, or should I say myth? So here is the method/myth…

You take a young Ninja-in-training and put him into a small pit and make him jump out 10-times every day. The “catch” is, everyday the Ninja-trainers would make the pit a just a little deeper, say 1/4 of an inch. This 1/4 of an inch was almost unnoticeable to the ninja-in-training but nevertheless the hole was in-fact deeper than the day before. So after 7-years or so of doing this, the Ninja was able to jump 20-feet into the air!

No one has ever spotted a Ninja and lived to tell about it!

No one has ever spotted a Ninja and lived to tell about it!

Is this true? Probably not, but it is a very interesting concept and it got me thinking what would happen if I took this ninja myth and applied it to weight training. How strong could I get if I increased the weight I lifted by just 1-lb a day?

So I bought some fractional plates and on May 26, 2015 I set out to become a powerlifting ninja! The goal was to do bench press, squats, and deadlift everyday. My starting weights are shown below and were about 95% of my 1-rep max.

Starting weight (May 26, 2015):

  • Bench press: 265-lbs
  • Squat: 245-lbs
  • Deadlift: 300-lbs
Fractional plates.

Fractional plates. The smallest plates are 1/4 of a pound.

So first let me say that the ninja training actually worked!!! Well not exactly as planned but I did get much stronger. In just 2-months I increased my bench press by 35-lbs, my squat by 70-lbs, and my deadlift by 85-lbs. That’s a combined 190-lb increase!

So here is how it went down…

I was able to stay on track with the original plan for 14-days. Which meant, for 2-weeks I benched, squatted, and deadlifted everyday adding a minimum of 1-lb to each lift. I would start each training session with a standard warmup of jump rope, then I would continue my warmup by doing a few reps of each exercise at lighter weights, methodically working my way up to the goal weight of the day. I would then load up the bar with the “weight of the day” and do a 3 x 1 set. This means I would lift the weight 1 time, rest and then I would repeat this process 2 more times, lifting the “weight of the day” 3-times to ensure it wasn’t a fluke.

Let me tell you, those first 14-days were extremely hard. Well actually the first 5-days were a blast, I was increasing in weight and I felt great, but then it started to get hard. After the first 5 days, I noticed my joints becoming really sore, specifically my knees and elbows. Then my shoulders starting getting really tight, in-fact my whole body starting hurting. I started experiencing a really deep muscle soreness like I have never experienced before. On a level on 1 to 10 I would say the “pain” I was experiencing was a solid 5. Which meant, the pain was minor, however it was consistent and I could definitely tell that my muscles were not recovering properly. But it was more than just a feeling I also had some proof, I also used the SKULPT* measurement device to analyze my Muscle Quality results.

Muscle quality going down

I had my initial measurement right before I started this Ninja training experiment and on June 10th I took anther measurement and  the results speak for themselves.

On May 12, 2015 about a week and a half before I started the Ninja Training experiment I took my first SKULPT measurement resulting in an overall muscle quality of 125 (average for most people is 100). Then on June 10 about two weeks into the experiment, my muscle quality measurement was 121, which meant that my muscle quality had dropped by 4 points. This data from the SKUPLT combined with the feeling of a deep muscle soreness convinced me that I needed to include some rest days if I had any hopes of becoming a powerlifting ninja. I then cut back to 3-days a week and immediately starting feeling better and my muscle quality even began to rise!

More rest = stronger muscles. Who knew? ;)

More rest = stronger muscles. Who knew? 😉

So on June 21, 2015 after eleven days of incorporating some rest days into my programming, I took another SKLUPT measurement and noticed that my muscle quality had shot back up to 125, my original starting measurement. This was great news because my strength was increasing, my muscle quality was increasing, and overall my body was feeling much less “beat-up”.

This Ninja experiment was not only hard because of the constant muscle, joint, and tendon soreness but actually doing the workout was much harder than you would think, and it got progressively harder each and everyday. Think about it, I started at 95% of my 1 rep max which meant that after just a few days I was lifting more weight then I ever had before, literally setting personal records every time I walked into the gym (well at least in the squat and bench press, 4 years ago I deadlifted 400-lbs)!


The” Iron” never lies!

Setting the personal records in the bench and squat was a lot of fun but after the first two weeks, the lifts stopped being fun and started to become hard, literally testing my limits both mentally and physically. This is because as the weight increased, so did the pressure to perform! I felt a lot of pressure to continually improve (thats how ninja’s did it, right?) and some days the “weight of the day” felt easy and some days the “weight of the day” felt impossibly heavy.

Impossibly heavy? That’s right, on about 5 different days over the course of this experiment I failed to lift the weight of the day, and let me tell you, that was demoralizing! But with any failure comes a choice, you can give up or you can press on, and I chose to become motivated by my failure and use it as an opportunity to get better.

When I failed to make the lift, I would re-focus my attention on what went wrong and make the necessary changes to my training plan. Sometimes it (the failure) meant I needed more rest, other times I decided that I needed to lower the weight and increase my reps to improve my overall muscle endurance. Hell, one time I even decided that I needed to increase the weight and only focus on the negative portion of the lift (with the help of spotters, of course). But what really helped more than anything was my refusal to throw in the towel…


Awesome Henry Rollins quote!

So if I could give you one piece of advice it would be to not accept failure. If you ever hope to be successful at anything, you must realize that failure is not the final verdict, it is just part of the growth process. And this knowledge is more powerful than any secret ninja training method, that I can assure you!!!

So what’s next? Who knows maybe a bodybuilding competition, say early 2016 😉

*If the dates and the graph look a little weird on the pictures of the SKULPT results, that is because the SKULPT seems to have a major flaw in its ability to store previous results. It is a real bummer! Sometimes it remembers your previous measurements and sometimes it doesn’t. I took this into account by taking screen captures of my results. So the muscle quality results I talk about are correct but the graph at the bottom is not always correct. Long story short, I think the SKULPT has a lot of potential but it still has some bugs, so take every measurement with a grain of salt.


Get to Know a CKO Member (Sid Carden)


Meet Sid Carden a CKO Seattle member since January 2015. Sid is a teacher, a mom, a regular member in the monthly “Get Hot Club”, and one badass kickboxer! Since starting her CKO journey Sid has had a lot of success, from improved her posture, obtaining a stronger core, building tone muscles and gaining self-confidence.

To learn more about Sid, read the interview below.


The Sid Carden Interview:

Besides being a member of CKO, what is your day job? 

Day and night job is being Mom to two fabulous kids. Earning money job is that I am a middle school science teacher.

Do you have any hobbies? 

Lots of hobbies that include hiking, camping and traveling. I am an avid reader of young adult sci-fi fantasy books. We are huge soccer fans. My kids play soccer year-round and so I am a soccer sideline mom standing out in all kinds of weather (mostly rain!) and we love our Sounders and go to see them play at home.

I am also an artist. I paint with acrylics mostly. You can see my work hanging in the ‘Ladros Cafe’ in Lynnwood and Edmonds.

How did you first learn of CKO? 

My friend Julie became a member last summer and raved about it and encouraged me to take the free trial class that is offered. Of course that is all it took and I was hooked.


What is your favorite aspect of CKO? 

When I walked in the door I saw every shape and size. No one was self conscious, it was all about them and their bag and their own journey. I loved that there was a variety of levels from beginners and experts but no one was judging the other. The level of encouragement from the participants was fabulous, how they pumped you up telling you what a great job you had done. I love how each instructor is different and the variety of workouts keep you challenged. You cannot let your guard down as the instructors change it up constantly.

What motivates you to walk through that door day after day and continue to push yourself? 

Family, friends,the instructors and myself.

My family works around my schedule to enable me to put in a workout. This is a huge support because I could easily use this as an excuse to not go. They see how much better I feel about myself and continue encouraging me. Also my kids are pretty impressed by my bad-ass self on the bag!

Friends, especially Jeanie and Julie, coordinating when we can do workouts together, you know the, ‘if you go, I’ll go’ mentality. Being accountable to more than yourself can get your butt off the couch.


The instructors are really motivating. They give you goals and acknowledge every step you are taking to improve yourself. They help you see that every step no matter how small makes a difference, whether you walked through the doors, improve by 1% or hit that bag a little harder it is making the change you want.

Myself because I know it does take effort and I am acknowledging that I am putting myself forward to make the improvements that only I can make.

What’s one thing you still find yourself struggling with?

The main struggle for me is eating correctly. I am a big carbohydrate eater. Its easy and when you have a busy family they are the easy go to ( yes I am making excuses now).

If we do a follow up interview 1-year from now, what awesome accomplishment would we be celebrating?


That I am still punching and kicking and that I am eating less carbs!

What is one book or documentary that you have read that changed your life?

To say that any one book or documentary has changed my life would be an overstatement. I read ‘The happiness project‘ and really liked some of the suggestions to take control of your life. Al Gore’s presentation on global warming, “Inconvenient Truth” is something everyone should watch and the documentary called ‘Tapped‘ about the bottled water industry.

Where do you see yourself in 5-years?

Still teaching, still being soccer mom, still staying in shape.

Share any relevant information you’d like about yourself that other CKO team members might not know about you (also a good place to talk about any success you have had since joining CKO)!

I have been going to CKO since January 2015. It has been an amazing place for my fitness goals and just as a stress reliever. Since going my body has become firmer which has given me a lot more confidence. I have noticed my posture has improved and I have had back injuries in the past and CKO has made my core much stronger.

I love going and love how people come up to each other congratulating each other on a job well done. CKO fosters a community which I am grateful for.